CDE Announces 2018 Rates for High School Graduation, Suspension and Chronic Absenteeism

November 30, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on November 19 that the high school graduation rates for 2018 remain near an all-time high. Among students who started high school in 2014, 83 percent graduated with their class in 2018, an increase from 82.7 percent from the year before. The state's graduation rate has increased substantially since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.

“Our graduation rates continue to rise, reflecting the passion and dedication by educators over the past eight years to transform our education system with a more equitable funding system, higher academic standards and more emphasis on career technical education,” Torlakson said. “Still, much work needs to be done to make certain all students graduate and to close the continuing achievement gaps between student groups...

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Teaching Students to Disagree Productively

November 30, 2018
By Brittany R. Collins

On a cool October morning, energy buzzed in a third-grade classroom in western Massachusetts. Students sat on the rug, raising their hands and grinning from ear to ear. As I entered at the back of the room, I was struck to hear the words “I disagree!” coming from the carpet. Could it be that all of this excitement was coexisting with - or even coming from - debate?

I hung my coat and settled in to observe this science lesson in action. “Disagreement is great!” the teacher exclaimed before reminding students of a prior discussion about how to share and use dissenting opinions as a tool for problem-solving...

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One Teacher’s Suggestions for Creating a More Diverse Classroom Library

November 15, 2018
By Meredith Kimi Lewis

The library is the physical and metaphorical center of my classroom. It is a reading world adorned with a carpet, comfy chairs, a lamp, and bins of neatly organized books. When I remember my own childhood, I picture a colorful tapestry woven by the hundreds of worlds I visited through the pages of books.

Imagine my surprise when one of my students commented about what I thought was a magical space, “I’m tired of reading about white kids.”

She followed this with a reminder that I, her teacher, am also not white. I was taken aback. More than 60 percent of my students are individuals of color. My library featured white characters almost exclusively. What schema was I helping to create for my students? I decided to make a change...

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SBE Approves First Instructional Materials Based on Next Generation Science Standards

November 15, 2018

On November 8, the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve the first-ever instructional materials which incorporate California’s groundbreaking Next Generation Science Standards for grades K-8.

“California is the first state in the nation to adopt a science framework and approve instructional materials based on the Next Generation Science Standards,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “I am excited about the new standards, which train students to act like scientists by posing questions and developing their own experiments. In addition, they emphasize climate change and environmental literacy, along with engineering and strategies to support girls and young women in science...

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California's History-Social Science Framework Wins American Historical Association Prize

November 1, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on October 17 that the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California History-Social Science Project (University of California, Davis) have won the American Historical Association's Beveridge Family Teaching Prize for distinguished K–12 history teaching. The two organizations collaborated to create the groundbreaking History­-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which was approved by the State Board of Education in 2016 and published last year.

"California is leading the way in helping our students recognize the diversity of our great state and nation," Torlakson said. "Thanks to the partnership between the California Department of Education and the California History-Social Science project, California students will learn from the latest research and have a deeper understanding of the important contributions and challenges faced by many individuals and ethnic groups that have sometimes been overlooked. These include every major ethnic group, as well as members of the LGBT community and people with disabilities.”...

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U.S. Department of Education Releases New Study, Accompanying Toolkit on Ed Tech for English Learners

November 1, 2018

On October 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of the National Study on English Learners and Digital Resources. The study provides the first national look at how districts and educators use educational technology to instruct English learner students - the fastest-growing student population in the country.

Today’s students are entering classrooms that have seen rapid adoption of digital technologies in instruction. With these new technologies, teachers of English learner (EL) students, whether they are general education teachers or specialists in EL student instruction, have exciting new tools to support learning...

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Focus, Emotion Regulation, and Goal Setting are Social and Emotional Learning Skills That Teachers Can Address During Recess and PE

October 3, 2018
By Maurice J. Elias

I’d like to offer up four social and emotional learning (SEL) skills that can be built up during physical education class or recess. Outdoor physical activities are an ideal time to develop SEL. Some of this is done in the moment, while at other times it involves instruction and preparation. For example, you may call students’ attention to certain actions during their participation and observations during play, and follow this up by facilitating a class discussion around their observations.

FOCUS

Sometimes students are concerned only about what they will do when it’s their turn-for example, when the ball will next come to them. In a group game that has a ball, you can assist students with attending to the small things involved. This builds their appreciation of all the moving pieces that are critical to team - and individual - success...

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CDE Releases Last Spring’s CAASPP Test Results, Several Subgroups Show Modest Improvement

October 3, 2018

On October 2, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that 2018 scores for the online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests in English Language Arts and mathematics increased further from the gains students made in 2017.

Statewide, in all tested grades, 49.88 percent of students met or exceeded the English Language Arts/Literacy standards, a 1.32 percentage point increase from 2017 and a 5.88 percentage point increase from 2015. In mathematics, 38.65 percent of students met or exceeded standards, a 1.09 percentage point increase from 2017 and a 5.65 percentage point increase from 2015.

This is the fourth year of the computer-based tests, which use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, as they will need to do in college and 21st century careers...

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Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?
Research Shows Students Benefit When Teachers Share Their Race or Gender. Yet Most Teachers are White Women

September 20, 2018
By Claire Cain Miller

As students have returned to school, they have been greeted by teachers who, more likely than not, are white women. That means many students will be continuing to see teachers who are a different gender than they are, and a different skin color.

Does it matter? Yes, according to a significant body of research: Students tend to benefit from having teachers who look like them, especially nonwhite students...

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SBE Adopts State’s First-Ever Computer Science Standards for Schools

September 20, 2018

On September 6, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved California’s first-ever computer science standards - learning expectations that will help each student reach their creative potential in our digitally connected world.

“As a forward-leaning state and home to Silicon Valley, California’s new standards will not only enable students to understand how their digital world works but will encourage critical thinking and discussion about the broader ethical and social implications and questions related to the growing capabilities of technology,” said State Board member Trish Williams, who serves as the Board’s computer science liaison...

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